Ontario’s cost cancer started with coal – by Tom Adams (National Post – November 21, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

“A coal phase out could provide huge benefits at a very low cost, the cost of a cup of coffee and a donut a month… This is no sacrifice, just gain.”

So began Ontario’s coal phase-out. The “coffee and donut” talking point belonged to Jack Gibbons of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance. The Alliance was launched in 1997 and attracted a wide array of supporters, including government agencies, major natural gas utilities and renewable energy companies.

By the time of the 2003 election, the decision to phase out coal power in Ontario had become a three party consensus. For newly elected Premier McGuinty, the coal phase-out went on to become his only major election plank he lived up to.

Later today, Premier Wynne will join with former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore at an event coordinated and hosted by Environmental Defense — another environmental group taking substantial government funding — to mark the removal of coal power from Ontario’s electricity supply.

Electricity consumers in Ontario are getting burned.

Electricity prices are growing at a compound annual rate of in the order of 10%, a pace locked in for at least three more years. Some uncertainty remains around the price outlook. The government has refused to disclose its own forecast.

Soon, Ontario’s power rates will surpass the highest of any state in the contiguous U.S., where rates are declining. Cost has become no object for official Ontario.

The root cause of Ontario’s power rate cancer started with the coal phase-out.

Wind power became the urban-oriented McGuinty’s darling. Official Ontario swore up and down — and still swears today — that wind is helping eliminate coal. In reality, wind provides fickle power, mismatched to the reliability function provided by the retiring coal plants.

Solar power also became officially fashionable. Except during air conditioning season, Ontario’s solar output almost never occurs during the daily period of maximum demand.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/11/20/ontarios-cost-cancer-started-with-coal/

 

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